We all love the holidays. I know, I know, it’s filled with family drama, blood-thirsty droves of greedy gift-buyers at the mall, Starbucks cup politics, but admit it… you fucking love it. And so do I! Guess what else we have in common: Drinking at parties while it’s happening to us! And since I care so much about you, here is my guide to getting drunk (but not too drunk) during the holidays.
Know Your Audience
Taking the time and place of your holiday drinking into account is key. If you look around and see you’re with your coworkers and are still in the office, maybe go for a low-ABV beer or nurse a cocktail. If you’re with your coworkers at a bar, up it a little. When it comes to Christmas dinner, if you don’t want to unload all your family baggage onto the dining table next to your aunt’s ham, keep it to two drinks. If you do, double it! Go into the situation with a slight game plan and you should be able to survive with your dignity intact. Try a Pilsner Urquell for those times where you need to play it safe. At 4.4% ABV you’ll stay plenty sharp, and look sharp too—the can is gold and almost looks like it came from Santa’s brewery. Oh my god, what if Santa had a brewery? That’s a great brewery idea—I called it, it’s mine!
Christmas is a time to get to dress up in colors you don’t normally wear, decorate your house with lights, and hang huge socks with your name on them by a fireplace. Bad at keeping plants alive for a week? Try a tree for a month! What I’m saying is that we put effort into the holidays, so do the same with drinks. There are so many fun options to be had, such as beer cocktails, which I hear are very popular right now. Try a Weissen Sour, made with bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, orange bitters, and your preferred white ale. Or the classic Black and Tan, which is just Guinness and Harp Lager stacked on top of each other like a really lame candy cane. Beermosas are great, too, with any Hefeweizen, orange juice, and vodka. Or just make one up like I did last night, if you want something disgusting.
I never show up without something I’m gonna enjoy, and if there’s already some good beer there, then the more the merrier!”
Did you just find yourself one of those aforementioned situations where it’s perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to go nuts? Pace yourself baby. We all want these situations to last as long as they can. Ask Sting, he knows! Taking into account the amount of time you want to be at a party or in your mom’s living room is key. If you’re in for a long night, start with the cocktails and then move to beer (rookie advice, I know, but it must be said). Have a glass of water between every one to two drinks. If you’re only going be there for a few hours but want to make them count, nothing says Christmas like a Belgian Strong Ale. My go-to’s are a Delirium Tremens or a St. Bernardus Abt 12 (it’s got this monk on it, and you know he knows Santa… maybe they’re cousins).
Always BYOB “To Share”
Look, your coworkers, your family, they’re nice enough people. Even your friend group must have some winners compared to this loser-fest we call planet Earth. But you never know what’s happening inside their fridge, and you’re sure as shit not going to be stuck with Firestone 805 all night (sorry dad and sorry Firestone—I love you both equally). I never show up without something I’m gonna enjoy, and if there’s already some good beer there, then the more the merrier! Tis the season, dawgs! Speaking of Firestone, try bringing a Velvet Merkin to your next gathering. It’s an incredibly smooth and delicious English oatmeal stout, perfect for sharing, and sits right in that sweet spot of 7.8% ABV. See? I do love Firestone. For proof that I love my dad however, that will be trickier to convey. Starting to feel like therapy now… and I’m writing this on a couch. Cue inner monologue, “Don’t lay down, don’t lay down, don’t lay down.”
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little walk down the holiday beer aisle in the grocery store of my mind. It’s open 24 hours, the shelves are always full, and everything’s free. Now, go drink, be kind, and be safe! Cheers!
Illustration by Adam Waito